Rediff Logo Business ESS - MakESS ERP solution Find/Feedback/Site Index
February 10, 1999


India's voice likely to command attention; 'G-17' summit to debate economic crises and WTO issues

Email this report to a friend

The ninth G-15 summit -- actually, 17 members comprise the group -- will begin at Montego Bay in Jamaica today with a note of concern over the financial crisis engulfing the economies of several developing countries, is all set to call for a new financial architecture based on elements of crisis prevention, orderly management of the crisis and development imperatives.

India, which raised the World Trade Organisation issue in a big way during the trade and economic ministers' conference here, has managed to convince the summit partners the need to evolve a common strategy prior to the third WTO ministerial conference in the United States this year.

India would now host a preparatory confence of G-15 countries in New Delhi, the dates of which would be prepared later.

The summit partners, barring a few members, want implementation of the Uruguay round agreements and its timely review. The summit members defend the principle of special and differential treatment but want completion of the present round before the millenium.

The participants are particular that the G-15 should not adopt a confrontationist agenda and instead be positive in its approach towards richer nations. They, however, favour a cohesive action by the developing countries to combat a new policy of ''protectionism'' that was emerging among the developed countries.

India has already asserted that it was not an opportune time for the WTO to take up new issues in its already-burdened agenda. New Delhi has also endorsed the view that developing countries should resist the call for a comprehensive round of negotiations.

On the sidelines of the summit, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will hold bilateral talks with Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and possibly with Malaysia. The summit will also advocate development of joint projects and bilateral investment initiatives.

The summit is likely to frame some mechanism to deal with financial flow and currency trading to avert sudden economic crisis. It is also of the view that short-term lendings by the International Monetary Fund and World bank should not be lessened, instead be increased.

The G-15 as a group for south-south co-operation completes a decade of its existence in September 1999, but the group is yet to frame a much-needed result-oriented strategy to consolidate their common trade and investment interests. The current summit is likely to work out an agenda for both trade and investment co-operation for the next round of WTO meeting.

As the present global outlook does not look bright for expansion of trade and investments of the emerging economies, the summit assumes an additional significance and the meet has to tackle WTO issues which is said to have accorded differential treatment to developing countries.

The G-15 is now a group of 17 countries with the inclusion of Kenya at the Cairo conference and Sri Lanka's entry this year. The Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga is expected to attend the meeting.

Members of the summit include Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal and Venezuela. It is a forum at the highest political level among some key Asian, African and Latin American countries.

The ninth summit is likely to support India's continued efforts to prevent patents taken on basmati rice, neem, turmeric etc.

The summit while discussing specific policy measures to combat adverse impact of global economic crisis, will discuss the specific policy measures, social implications of the crisis, multilateral trading system, trade and economic co-operation among developing countries.

The G-15 mechanisms will also be fine-tuned to make the interaction more effective and raise its international profile.


Business News

Tell us what you think of this report